Foxconn in Talks to Acquire Sharp for $5.6 Billion
Troubled Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp Corporation is set to be acquired by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., better known as “Foxconn”, at the end of this month. Unlike similar multi-billion dollar acquisitions that are usually leaked to the press first, news of this particular deal came straight from the horse’s mouth.
Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou has reportedly told the media that the two companies have agreed on a price $5.6 billion. “We have a consensus,” Gou has repordtedly told a few media outlets. “The rest is a process… I don’t see a problem completing this process.”
This isn’t the first time Foxconn has shown an interest in Sharp. Back in 2012, the company reportedly tried to buy a 9.9 percent stake in Sharp for around $800 million. However those talks didn’t go anywhere, because Sharp officials were apparently unhappy with the amount of control over the company Foxconn demanded as part of the deal.
Sharp has continued to bleed money since those initial negotiations, but Foxconn’s valuation of the electronics giant is more or less unchanged. Gou refused to comment on the reasons why Foxconn would want to buy Sharp, but it’s not difficult to guess why. For starters, Sharp develops a number of strategic technologies such as its flexible OLED screens that could well prove tempting to smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung.
As such, if Foxconn can get the blueprints and patents associated with these technologies, it’ll likely strengthen its relationship with Apple, as it would give it the ability to not just assemble Apple products like the iPhone but manufacture displays as well. Foxconn’s seemingly successful bid to acquire Sharp puts an end to any hopes that Innovation, a Japanese government-backed fund, might be able to acquire the firm. Innovation was originally thought to be Sharp’s preferred buyer, but the fund was only willing to cough up half of what Foxconn is willing to pay.